Thursday, April 08, 2021

From Ian:

Torchlighters on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2021
Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which began Wednesday evening, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

- Manya Bigunov was born in 1927 in the Ukrainian city of Teplyk. In July 1941, the Germans occupied Teplyk and sent residents to forced labor. She escaped from one of the labor camps and survived in the Bershad ghetto in Transnistria. After the war, Manya filled dozens of Yad Vashem's Pages of Testimony commemorating the people of Teplyk. In 1992, she immigrated to Israel.

- Yossi Chen was born in 1936 in Lachwa, Poland (now Belarus). On Passover eve 1942, all the town's Jews were ordered to move into the ghetto. In August 1942, the Jews learned that the ghetto residents were about to be murdered and an uprising broke out in full cooperation with the ghetto Jewish council, the Judenrat. While the majority of the Jews who tried to flee were shot and killed, six-year-old Yossi fled to the forests. Yossi and his father hid in haystacks, swamps and forests, drank water from swamps and ate berries until they found the partisans. In July 1947, the two boarded the Exodus illegal immigrant ship.

- Sara Fishman was born in 1927 in what is today Neresnytsya, Ukraine. When Sara and her sisters arrived in Auschwitz, one of the prisoners threw a stone at them with a note attached. The note read that the smoke they saw from the chimney was their parents. Later she was sent to forced labor outside Auschwitz and then to Bergen-Belsen. In 1949 she immigrated to Israel and served in the IDF during the War of Independence.

- Halina Friedman was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1933. In the Warsaw ghetto, her parents worked in a factory that repaired uniforms for the German Army, and Halina was placed in a kindergarten for the workers' children. In 1942, the children were taken out and shot by machine gun. Halina fell, but was not injured. She lay among the dozens of dead children, covered in their blood. Only at night did she return home. She escaped when the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising broke out in 1943 and for 18 months was hidden in a bunker at the home of two Polish people, Jerzy Kozminski and his stepmother Teresa Kozminska, who were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations in 1965.

- Zehava Gealel was born in 1935 in The Hague, Netherlands. Dutch police accompanied by Germans arrived to take the family members into custody, but thanks to documents sent by Zehava's grandfather in the U.S., the family members were granted Romanian citizenship and were defined as political prisoners. She was later sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany and then to Bergen-Belsen. For the past 50 years, Zehava has been a nurse at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Israel.

- Shmuel Naar was born in 1924 in Thessaloniki, Greece. In March 1943 the city's Jews were deported, mostly to Auschwitz. In January 1945, Shmuel was forced on a death march to Bergen-Belsen. In November 1945, he boarded the Berl Katzenelson illegal immigrant ship bound for Israel. When the ship was discovered by a British destroyer, Shmuel jumped into the icy water and swam to shore. Shmuel fought in the War of Independence and in all the wars of Israel including the Yom Kippur War as a combat medic.
Ronald Lauder: Holocaust Remembrance Day: We can't let our past be our children's future
“We cannot let our past become our children’s future.” These words were spoken by Roman Kent, an Auschwitz survivor on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp. These words are still ringing in my ears. I think about them all the time and they have guided me over the past six years, since I stood at the those terrible gates – gates that saw over one-million Jewish mothers, fathers and so, so many children pass through them. They went into the camp, but they never came out.

Five years after Roman Kent spoke those words, I brought 120 survivors and their families to the same gates for the 75th anniversary of the liberation by the Red Army. For many of them, it was their first time back since those terrible days. For many, it will probably be their last visit.

I was astounded to see their strength as we walked through the camp with their families. I also saw the pain in the faces of their children and grandchildren, who finally understood what they had experienced.

In my keynote address to them at those infamous gates, I talked about what it meant to have these survivors with us and what it meant to me personally. But also present were European leaders and dignitaries from more than 50 countries and I told them directly that they must do everything in their power to make sure that the rise in hatred that we are seeing, must be stopped in their countries. The continent of Europe owes this to the Jewish people.

Since that day, now more than a year and two months ago, I have stayed in touch with them. Sadly, we have already lost ten of them. This past Pesach, we held a Zoom meeting and they told me something that touched me to my core. They said they understood the Pesach story better than most people, because they were slaves themselves. And, perhaps most importantly, they were delivered to freedom.
JPost Editorial: Holocaust Remembrance Day: Remember, appreciate Israel
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day to remember the alternative, to remember what happened to the Jews in Europe in the previous century, and through that simple act of remembering to better appreciate our lives now in the Jewish state in this century.

President Reuven Rivlin articulated this sentiment well during comments he made Tuesday when giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the mandate to form the next government.

Rivlin related how last week former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak came to the President’s Residence and told his tale of survival as a young boy living behind the wall in the home of a Lithuanian farmer.

Barak, Rivlin said, kept his composure throughout the telling of this harrowing tale, which included the “most terrible and dreadful moments of the selection of children in the ghetto.”

Barak’s voice only wavered, Rivlin recounted, when he described meeting soldiers of the Jewish Brigade wearing a badge of the blue and white flag.

“The State of Israel is not to be taken for granted,” Rivlin said. “We hold – you the citizens of Israel hold – [in hand] the greatest treasure of the Jewish people.”

That the Jewish people should not take the existence of the State of Israel for granted is an obvious sentiment. But, as Menachem Begin once famously quipped, even the obvious needs to be restated from time to time.

It is human nature not to fully appreciate everyday wonders until they are gone: being able to walk, until you can’t; being able to see, until you go blind; being able to bend, until your back goes out.

So, too, it is difficult to appreciate the wonder and miracle of the Jewish state unless you step back and remember what things looked like without it. Holocaust Remembrance Day, among its other messages, commands us to do just that.


Holocaust truths left out of the history texts
I am going to give you the rest of the story. The part your history books and social studies teachers left out ,about how the United States and the Allied governments were accomplices to Hitler in the crimes committed against the Jewish people during World War II.

Let us first look at the U.S. immigration policy. During the Holocaust the United States had the most stringent immigration laws in the world. In fact, the laws were so strict, the United States did not even fill its own quotas. In the 10 years between 1933 and 1943, the United States could have admitted more than a million-and-a-half refugees, but chose only to admit a small percentage of this quota.

The United States denied entrance even to those refugees who held U.S. immigration numbers. In May 1939, a ship called the St. Louis sailed from Nazi Germany to Cuba. After Cuba changed its mind and decided not to take in these refugees they previously promised to accept, the 734 refugees who held U.S. immigration numbers had thought that the United States might take them in ahead of their projected time. The United States sent the ship and all the refugees back to Nazi Germany. Do you think that the United States apathy and insensitivity went unnoticed?

What is worse is that U.S. apathy served as a justification of Nazi policy. You may be wondering why the United States did not want to admit refugees. I’ll share with you some of the most popular excuses.

-The Allies agreed that the dumping of large numbers of refugees would be dangerous, as some of these refugees might be spies in disguise.

Tell me, how many of the thousands of small children who died in mass graves and gas chambers, just how many do you think were spies?

-Some opponents of immigration said that in the aftermath of the Great Depression, refugees would be stealing jobs that rightfully belonged to unemployed American workers. Did any of these people ever stop to consider that these refugees would be consumers as well as workers and thus would provide as many jobs as they would take?

Even so, is money more sacred that human life? How many dollars is one life worth anyway? What abut 6 million lives?

Did the U.S. government rally have a clear picture of what was happening in Europe? By August 1942, Hitler had killed over one-and-a-half million Jews. That month. Dr. Stephen Wise brought detailed reports to the U.S. State Department describing Hitler’s final solution. The reports were not verified and accepted as true until the following November. In December the Allies issues a declaration stating that AFTER the war, the Nazis would be punished for the crimes they have committed against the Jews. In other words, the Allies were going to watch Hitler kill all the Jews and then when he was finished, THEN they were going to punish Germany.
Gil Troy: Just Decades After the Holocaust, the Woke Mob Targets Jews and America
Those very skills that made American Jewry one of Jewish history’s great success stories — from ambition to precision, from intellectual depth to entrepreneurial creativity — are now being dismissed as somehow “white.”

That absurd characterization, combined with a narrative claiming that things in America are getting worse not better, and that white supremacy today poisons every white person’s heart — not just the KKKers and Neo-Nazis — assails the values, breakthroughs, and quintessentially American tools that have benefited all Americans.

Why go backwards to the Old World’s old ways, rather than truly progressing by perfecting the New World’s new ways? In swallowing this propaganda and spreading it, young intellectual Jews are complicit in stunning acts of spiritual and ideological self-destruction that threaten America’s entire democratic experiment, not just American Jewry.

Part of Holocaust education should be understanding more about those GI Joes who liberated the camps and won the war, how the Jews among them learned to feel like Americans, and how all Americans started learning how to accept one another better. This means that we don’t just ask what’s wrong with America but what’s right with America; we don’t just complain about not going far enough, but learn how we were able to come this far.

So beware: if Yom HaShoah becomes so universalized to become about the oppression of all minorities — which usually overlooks and minimizes Jews as a minority — wake up from wokeness. And beware: if Yom HaShoah becomes so polarized that right-wingers only mourn the New and New-New Antisemitism while left-wingers only mourn white supremacy — start crossing wires to transcend partisanship.

Remember the sweeping contradictions that have always characterized Jew-hatred, that most plastic of hatreds: flexible, adaptable, artificial, and lethal. Historically, Jews were too assimilated and too clannish, too capitalist and too Marxist. Today, Jews are not-white enough for the white supremacists who cherish whiteness, and far too white for the anti-racists who abhor whiteness. Jews are also too visible when bigots target us as all-powerful, and all too invisible when we complain about being targeted.

This Yom HaShoah’s counter-cultural lesson should emphasize that over-generalizing breeds hatred; it comes from defining people only by the color of their skin, the nature of their ethnic affiliation, their class, their creed, their gender, or their sexuality, not the content of their individual characters.

This Holocaust began with the European tendency to judge people by who their people were, not who they are. How dare we replicate that sin? We should be Americanizing Europe — and the rest of the world — not Europeanizing America.
Noa Tishby: There Is No Acceptable Anti-Semitism
Israel is my homeland and I love it. But a lot of people don't. I started to make an effort to find out why. My friend Maajid Nawaz, a onetime radical Islamist who has now dedicated his life to reforming Islam and fighting hate, told me, "People hate Israel because of anti-Semitism." Jews are only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are the target of 50% of national religion-based hate crimes.

Support for a Jewish homeland in Israel has historically been known as "Zionism." Anti-Zionism has simply become a politically-correct form of anti-Semitism. If you're particularly full of rage at only one country on earth, and that country also happens to be Jewish, consider that your opinions about Israel may also have something to do with a bias you carry against Jews.

The Israeli-born writer is currently co-producing the fourth season of the American version of the award-winning Israeli TV show "In Treatment" for HBO. She is the author of the new book ISRAEL: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth.
Florida University Professor Teaching Students about "Zionist Terrorist Regime"
According to the Miami Herald, in 2015 Florida International University (FIU) was ranked #14 in the nation with the amount of attending Jewish-American students (3,500) it had enrolled. But now some of those students, who signed up to take Professor Ronald Morales’s “Terrorism and Homeland Security” course are saying that the last thing they expected was to be subjected to reading anti-Semitic propaganda as part of their education.

This course is required for students seeking a Criminal Justice degree.

Several of Professor Morales’s students reached out to The Floridian last week to inform us about their assignment that asked them to “discuss the Zionist terrorist organizations that have existed in Israel.” The Assignment:
“Discuss the Zionist terrorist organizations that have existed in Israel. Looking at some of the prominent Middle Eastern terrorist groups discussed in this chapter, what are some of the techniques used by terrorist organizations to increase recognition, support, and power? What external forces discussed in previous chapters multiplied the strength of these terrorist organizations? Do you think it is possible to bring religious extremism to an end?”

Fair enough question, right?

The problem lies in the textbook the university has authorized Morales to use for instruction, and what students are taking away from the reading.

The level of anti-Semitic thought being espoused by students is alarming and it appears as if the assignment has spurred on this hateful rhetoric.

“The policies of Zionist is generally to turn Jewry in to (sic) a nation, where the emphasis is not only based on the race but the biblical myth of the promise and the territorial sense of the land,” stated one of Morales’ students.

Another student stated, “I can’t say they have succeeded at all but imposing fear, committing attacks in the name of religion is a tactic as well as showing the world the atrocities they commit,” while another echoed the narrative that Israel was instilling fear into Palestinians with their “use the media as a way to broadcast their attacks, which would instill constant fear in the citizens.”


Monsey Chanukah Machete Attacker Declared Unfit for Trial
The Monsey Chanukah stabber Grafton E. Thomas who on December 28, 2019, invaded the home of a Chassidic rabbi in Monsey, NY, wielding a machete, and stabbed five guests, one of whom eventually died, was declared by a psychologist as unfit to stand trial, the prosecutors and Thomas’s attorneys stated on Wednesday.

According to the joint statement, Dr. Lea Ann Preston Baecht submitted a report on March 30 saying Grafton was deemed unfit for trial.

On April 20, 2020, Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that “the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to assist properly in his defense.” She ordered him to be hospitalized in a mental facility for up to four months, following which his status will be reviewed again.

This latest psychological evaluation is not expected to change in the foreseeable future.

Thomas is accused of entering the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg on a Saturday night, the seventh night of Chanukah, holding an 18-inch machete, with the intention of killing as many Jews as possible. The rabbi was holding a Chanukah party at his home at the time of the attack. Thomas is accused of stabbing and slashing as many people as he was able to reach before he finally was driven out of the house by a man who threw furniture at him to make him leave. Five people were taken to the hospital with injuries. Doctors performed two surgeries to save the life of 70-year-old Yosef Neumann, who died three months later.

Thomas has a long history of serious mental illness, and in 2018 was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in a psychiatric evaluation at the Orange County Medical Center after confronting a police officer with a knife.


BBC WS radio fails to challenge activist filmmaker’s disinformation
The last seven minutes and forty seconds of the March 26th afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ were given over to promotion of an Oscar nominated fictional short film described by presenter Tim Franks as “rather gripping”.

“It sounds wrong, doesn’t it, a drama all about a man going to buy a fridge? But ‘The Present’ is a short film which proves in its depiction to be rather gripping as it portrays the dreariness and boiling frustration of life for a Palestinian father in the Occupied Territories, particularly as he tries to get through the nearest Israeli checkpoint.”

Franks introduced his interviewee – “British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi” – and asked about the choice of the film’s subject matter. He refrained from informing listeners about Nabulsi’s political activities such as participation in ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ events.

Listeners heard Nabulsi describe one particular checkpoint described as a “monstrosity” and were told that checkpoints are “one part of a much bigger control system that comes under occupation” with “impact […] on the individual on a daily basis”.

Franks’ subsequent ticking of the ‘impartiality’ box failed to inform listeners that checkpoints came into being when the Palestinians chose to launch the terror war known as the second Intifada in the year 2000. Remarkably, Franks used the euphemism “massive damage” and listeners did not hear any direct reference to the thousands of Israelis murdered and injured during those years.
SUMMARY OF BBC NEWS WEBSITE PORTRAYAL OF ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS – MARCH 2021
Throughout the month of March 2021, twenty written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and five of which were carried over from the previous month.

Two articles concerned the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab nations:
Is business the ‘path to peace’ in the Middle East? Sameer Hashmi and Ian Rose (19/2/21 to 1/3/21)
Israel PM delays UAE visit after Jordan overflight ‘difficulties’ (11/3/21 to 15/3/21)

One report concerned security issues:
Netanyahu blames Iran for blast on Israeli-owned ship in Gulf of Oman (1/3/21 to 4/3/21)

One report related to the ICC:
ICC opens ‘war crimes’ investigation in West Bank and Gaza (3/3/21 to 9/3/21)
BBC NEWS COVERAGE OF TERRORISM IN ISRAEL – MARCH 2021
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during March 2021 shows that throughout the month a total of 70 incidents took place: 57 in Judea & Samaria, 11 in Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ and two in the Gaza Strip sector.

In Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem the agency recorded 52 attacks with petrol bombs, four attacks using pipe bombs, one rock-throwing attack, two stabbing/assault attacks, three shooting attacks, five arson attacks and one vehicular attack. In the Gaza Strip sector one rocket attack and one IED attack took place.

No deaths or injuries were reported throughout the month.

Visitors to the BBC News website during March saw just one brief reference to the rocket attack launched from the Gaza Strip on the day of Israel’s general election. The article in which that attack was reported appeared on the website’s ‘Middle East’ page for approximately two hours. None of the additional attacks throughout the month received any BBC coverage.

Throughout the first quarter of 2021 the BBC News website has reported just one of four rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip and 0.34% of the total terrorism incidents.


Jews in Marine Le Pen's party make blacklist of candidates with neo-Nazi ties
Jewish officials and activists in Marine Le Pen’s National Rally are preparing a list of officials in the French far-right party with neo-Nazi affiliations, ahead of the planned regional elections in France in June.

Prof. Jean-Richard Sulzer, a regional councilor in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region who is not running for reelection, is leading the effort. Sulzer is the head of the National Jewish Circle, an informal group established in 2018 for Jewish officials, including four members of the national council, of the National Rally, the far-right French political party previously known as the National Front, to combat antisemitism in the party’s ranks.

“We are asking [Le Pen] to remove neo-Nazis from the lists of candidates,” Sulzer told The Jerusalem Post this week. “If they are allowed to run, it is not good for our party’s reputation…We don’t want these men or women on the list to run, because they belonged to neo-Nazi groups in the past or because of antisemitic behavior.”

According to Sulzer, Le Pen “knows unofficially” that his group is working on a list, and he expressed hope that she will take the initiative to remove some of the problematic candidates before official party lists are submitted.

Sulzer and his associates are still compiling their blacklist, which they plan to release via an open letter later this month, a few weeks before the deadline for parties to submit their lists for the regional elections on May 17. The regional elections are scheduled to be held throughout France on June 13 and 20, after having been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, though the possibility that they will be pushed off again remains.

Sulzer also accused the party of disqualifying a suspicious number of Jewish potential candidates from running on National Rally lists.
Nazis in Italy disrupt Israeli ambassador's Holocaust memorial event
An online Holocaust Remembrance Day event hosted by Israeli Ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar was interrupted by anti-Semites who managed to briefly disrupt the event and even scrawl virtual swastikas.

The hackers, who are apparently neo-Nazis, took advantage of the joint Zoom screen and essentially took over by calling out profanities and drawing the graffiti. This happened just as Eydar was introducing the participants, which included the local professor in charge of the adoption of the antisemitism definition as proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Eydar says the professor countered the provocateurs, saying: "How dare you use this symbol of death?" According to Eydar, he then moved to cancel the shared screen option so that the Nazis could be stopped in their tracks.

"This proves that there is still antisemitism on the fringes in Europe," Eydar said. "He said that "there is a great deal of solidarity with us, and as ambassador, I have felt that many have been listening to us," noted Eydar, who said that the majority of Italians do not share anti-Israeli views.
Antisemitic graffiti found at home of Pittsburgh’s South Side Bears
Antisemitic graffiti has been discovered in Pittsburgh’s South Side.

The graffiti was scrawled on the side of a concession stand at Quarry Field, home to the South Side Bears, a Pittsburgh youth American football team.

Kevin Alton, President of the South Side Bears, condemned the vandalism, stating: “The South Side is not for hate.”

An investigation has been launched by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said that the city would cover the costs of the clean-up and would commission a mural artist to restore the original mural.

Mayor Peduto said: “We’ll put together the funds in order to be able to improve this entire area, and we’ll send a message to anybody who wants to talk in hate that we’ll come back stronger.”
Jewish cemetery in Aalborg, Denmark vandalised during Pesach
A Jewish cemetery in Aalborg, Denmark was vandalised during the Jewish festival of Passover.

Red paint, baby dolls and antisemitic literature relating to the blood libel conspiracy theory were left outside the cemetery.

Flyers were also deposited directing readers to a website that associated with the Nordic Resistance Movement, a Pan-Nordic neo-Nazi organisation that is proscribed in Finland.

Henri Goldstein, Chairman of Denmark’s Jewish community, said: “Historically, a lot of antisemitism with a physical outcome has started with, among other things, vandalism against cemeteries and Jewish shops.” He added: “The vandalism at the cemetery around Passover is simply as classic antisemitism as it can be. We have seen this for centuries in Europe.”

Security in Denmark has been elevated and the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

Danish politicians have condemned the attack. Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup declared that it was “outrageous and deeply shameful”.
Antisemitic graffiti discovered inside Albion College dormitory
Antisemitic graffiti has been discovered inside a dormitory stairwell of Albion College in Michigan.

The graffiti contained several racist remarks and references to the Ku Klux Klan.

Albion community leaders, including Robert Dunklin, President of NAACP’s Albion branch, came together to support Albion College students and condemn the vandalism.

Mr Dunklin said: “Students have been dealing with issues like COVID-19, locked in their dorms and now they have to deal with racial graffiti. It is not acceptable in this community. And we are here to stand with this community and the community of Albion College.” Mr Dunklin added: “Whoever it is, they’re best to come forward or get out of town.”

Albion College President Mathew Johnson confirmed that the incident had been reported to police and was under investigation. Mr Johnson also stated that the college was offering a $1,000 reward for any information regarding the incident.

Mr Johnson said: “The racist and antisemitic actions taken on our campus over the last week are cowardly and will not be tolerated. We are outraged and angered that this incident occurred within our community. In addition to caring for and protecting the students most directly impacted, and addressing the safety concerns of the broader student body, we are currently investigating who is responsible for racist graffiti on our campus.”


Fate has starring role in Holocaust-surviving illustrator’s memoir for children
Serendipity played no small part in helping Uri Shulevitz survive the Holocaust as a child. Nearly 76 years later, Shulevitz — now an acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books — is contemplating the role that fate played in preserving his life in his new memoir for kids, “Chance: Escape From the Holocaust.”

In a phone interview with The Times of Israel, Shulevitz said that the title — which was suggested by his wife, Paula Brown — “reflects very much what was going on, because, to put it a certain way, fate was playing Russian roulette with our lives.”

Shulevitz and his parents had to entrust their lives to fate after the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, started World War II. Over the next eight years, they experienced starvation, separation and illness in a journey that took them from Poland to Belarus to Archangelsk to Turkestan, going ever further east into areas the Nazis never penetrated.

Sometimes, what seemed like bad news turned out to be beneficial. One such moment happened after the family had fled from Warsaw to Belarus. They faced a choice of either getting Russian passports or being sent back to Poland. The Soviet official issuing passports said that Uri must be Jewish because he had the same first name as Zionist poet Uri Zvi Greenberg, who was in disfavor with the USSR. This dissuaded Shulevitz’s parents from getting Russian citizenship. Yet instead of returning to Poland, they were transferred further east. Fellow refugees who became Russian citizens stayed in Belarus. Shulevitz said that when the Nazis invaded, they deported the new citizens back to Poland, ultimately to concentration camps.

“Things like that just go to show that one of the aspects of war is unpredictability,” Shulevitz said. “A lack of any kind of common sense, the vagaries of what happened. People ended up very confused about what was going to be next.”
Holocaust survivors join virtual March of Living ceremony at Auschwitz
The March of the Living, an annual event that brings together Holocaust survivors and family members at the former Auschwitz death camp, was held online for a second consecutive year on Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants usually stage a march at the site in southern Poland but restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus have made that impossible. Nevertheless, organizers and participants say it is important that the event goes ahead.

"We have no other choice," said 84-year-old Holocaust survivor Tzipora Freund.

"This time it has to be virtual because every year people march... Each and every year youngsters and elderly will march there and will not forget."

Freund and her son, who were in Israel, laid virtual messages of remembrance in the railway track leading to the gate of the death camp as part of a computer simulation of the event, as did Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and others.

More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, perished in the gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease at Auschwitz, which the Nazis set up in occupied Poland during World War Two.

"We have to remember that the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and also hate and racism are things that are happening. It's not something that is part of history," said Baruch Adler, 70, co-founder and vice chairman of the March of the Living.

"So my message is: You have to know that you have to fight. That remembrance, it's a fight."


Holocaust Remembrance Day: Netanyahu tells the story of Sara's father
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the "Every Person has a Name" Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Thursday, emphasizing the importance itself of having a ceremony to commemorate the dead.

"The need we have to memorialize the dead is essential to human nature," he said.

He went on to tell the story of his father-in-law, Sara's father: Shmuel.

"Shmuel escaped from the Shoah because he was a fierce pioneer," making aliyah in 1933.

"We told him, 'Go back, visit your hometown Bilgoraj [Poland].' He never went back. He didn't want to go back, he wanted to retell."

Shmuel went on to become a Tanach scholar, educator and poet, and was even invited by David Ben-Gurion to his first Tanach course.

"He retold [of his life before Israel] through his beautiful and provoking poems," Netanyahu said, adding that he reads one every year on this day.

Another way that Shmuel memorialized his life and experiences is through his book Novardok documenting his time studying Torah in the Polish town of Mezritch, a powerhouse of yeshivas, which was 90% Jewish in 1939.
Israeli NBA Player Deni Avdija Honors Holocaust Remembrance Day With ‘Yizkor’ Game Day Sneakers
Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija made a small gesture on Wednesday night — the eve of Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day — to commemorate the millions who died in the Holocaust.

Ahead of his team’s game with the Orlando Magic, the 20-year-old — who was born in Beit Zara, Israel — walked into the arena in Orlando wearing all black along with sneakers emblazoned in silver with the Hebrew word “Yizkor,” which means “remember.” Though he changed out of his black ensemble for the match, he wore the sneakers throughout the game.

The Wizards made 19 three-pointers, their high mark of the season, in their 131-116 win over the Magic.

Avdija made history in 2020 when he became the first Israeli-born player drafted by a lottery team in the NBA. (h/t Yerushalimey)


Bahrain observes Holocaust Remembrance Day for the first time
For the first time in history, the Jewish community in Bahrain marked Holocaust Memorial Day in a virtual ceremony initiated by “The House Of Ten Commandments.”

Only a few months after the signing of the Abraham Accords, of which Bahrain was one of the signatories, a memorable ceremony was held in a Jewish community synagogue that was recently renovated as part of an initiative by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

The ceremony was led by Ambassador Houda Nonoo, a member of a Jewish family who previously served as Bahrain's ambassador to the United States.

The guest of honor of the event was Amb. Dr. Dore Gold, the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former director general of the Foreign Ministry who met with Nonoo during his visit to Bahrain in December 2020.

On the Arabian Peninsula, Jewish communities will host a series of events marking Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday in yet another sign of the warming ties between Gulf states and their Jewish populations.

On Thursday, the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities will host a webinar discussing the Holocaust moderated by Emily Judd from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, which will involve both Muslims and Jews.









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